12-15 years depending on its physical condition and health with some living as long as 21 years of age
1 to 6 puppies, ranging with 5 as an average
The Bichon Frise belongs to the Non-Sporting Group, and has a 28th ranking in the AKC families. This is the most diverse of all the AKC groups, used as an occasional catch-all for breeds that do not have an actual function other than pet, and who defy other categories. Another name for the Non-Sporting Group is the Companion Group as that is what the majority of these breeds have been bred for. Each breed is evaluated by its own merits when shown or exhibited.
CKC, AKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR
The color of the Bichon Frise is white, with some bloodlines having cream or patches of cream shadings in the hair.
9 to 12 inches tall at the withers,
7 to 12 pounds
9 to 11 inches tall at the withers.
7 to 12 pounds
Apartment or small living establishments are for small dogs, large low-level energy dogs, or pet owners who can offer on a routine schedule a vigorous plan of exercise to their pet and themselves. And the Bichon Frise is a breed that should not live outdoors due to its gentle nature and small size--not needing a lot of space to move around, the Bichon does well living in an apartment or small trailer. Their well-being is highly important, more important than their living conditions, as they are "people orientated." They require moderate cold and hot temperatures, not being able to be too color or too hot.
A charming white powerful that loves children, the Bichon Frise is a small dog with loosely curled double-coated hair that is 3-4 inches long, and is virtually less hypoallergenic than other breeds. With a moderate muzzle that is not sharp or pointed, its bite is one of scissor, and has beautiful quizzical eyes that are dark and intelligent with well-covered hanging ears. The breed has a long neck and a well-developed chest, with a cute little plumed tail curled over its back.
The Bichon has a powder-buff appearance that is not only striking but derives from its double coat. This special coat has a double purpose, which is a soft and dense coat on the top with a coarser coat, with a "poodle" curly look until it is groomed. The double coat causes the fur to stand up, springing back when it is patted or touched. With a build that is longer than tall, the breeds quickly starts out with an effortless trot that is beautiful to behold-which was how it began in the show rings and as performers in their early development days. With no gross or incapacitating exaggerations, there is no inherent reason for any lack of balance or even unsound movements. If this is seen, the puppy has something wrong with it, and should not be purchased.
In the 1980s, the Bichon Frise was part of the "Yuppie Puppies" choice of the majority population, and everyone just HAD to have one. Due to this, over-breeding occurred with less experienced breeders or back-yard breeders who paid no attention to the higher quality traits, mingling all levels of the Bichon genetic lines. When purchasing ones, make sure you get personal references on the parents and previous litters out of that line before choosing.
The Bichon Frise has a double coat, consisting of a curly outer coat with loose hair and a soft, silky undercoat. This double coat keeps the dog warm in the winter and cool in the summer. But good grooming is required once shedding begins, as the undercoat needs to be removed once the weather begins to warm up or excessive shedding will leave piles of hair throughout the home.
Many people, instead of grooming their dog or having them professionally done, will shave the hair off completely in order to keep the dog cool in the summer. But what they do not know is that the hair being removed is what cools down the dog's body. Once this protective layer of hair is gone, the dog will become more susceptible to the sun, wind, and bugs. Shedding treatments, such as Furminator, help keep the extra undercoat cleaned out, so hair will not get all over the furniture or routine grooming--which is always better as it becomes bonding time for the owner and the dog.
The Bichon Frise was developed in the Mediterranean area, when a Barbet (a large water spaniel breed) was crossed with small white lapdogs. The Barbet name was later developed to "Barbichon cam," which was later shortened to "Bichon." Similar breeds that were developed from the Barbet were the Poodle (also called the Caniche) and the Maltese. Even though they are now separate breeds, they have a common ancestry that gives them certain similar similarities. The group of dogs known as the Barbichon developed into four breed lines: Bichon Bolognese, Bichon Havanese, Bichon Maltese, and the Bichon Tenerife.
The Bichon Frise of today has its ancestry in the Bichon Tenerife breed line, which found its way to the Mediterranean area, onto the Canary Islands or rather, "the Island of Tenerife." Called the Dog of Love, sailors used to bring these little puppies into the area for the women they admired and sought favors with. Eventually, the Bichon's popularity developed under Henry III. Carrying his little white Bichon around in court, other court individuals did as the king did. The term "bichonner" became one with the beautiful, beribboned, and pampered little Bichon Frise from then on.
As human nature does with mankind's whims and whistles, by the end of the 1800s, the cute little court favored cuddly pet was out on the streets. The little white dogs learned how to earn their keep by doing tricks in the circuses or fairs. The characteristics of the pampered darling of the court demonstrated to the world that its charm, cunning ability, and physical sturdiness brought the little dog to where he is now.
The temperament of the Bichon Frise is sweet, perky, bouncy, active, and very playful with sporadic bursts of energy that leads them into many unknown adventures--usually beyond the fenced in yard or when they get loose from the leash, even though they are considered to be gentle creatures. High on the playfulness range, along with friendliness toward strangers, watchdog ability, and grooming requirements-anyone who purchases the Bichon will be a powder-puff challenge, to say the least!
They are one of the very few smaller dogs that get along well with children of all ages in addition to adults, and are completely hypoallergenic for those with allergies. This is a favorite breed for those desiring a "happy-go-lucky" pet with an attitude toward the world, even to strangers, pets, other dogs, and the garbage man or mailman! A sensitive dog whose feelings get hurt easily, it is the breed who's favorite past time is to cuddle up in someone's lap, especially someone who appreciates the Bichon's sensitivity, responsiveness, and affectionate behaviors.
An independent dog, the Bichon Frise bond well with adults and children and is also very highly intelligent, affectionate, charming, and self-assured. One of the few smaller breeds that is not a "yapper," even though it barks a lot due to its watchdog ability, and loves all human company. It can be shown either trimmed as a poodle or longhaired with clippings at the feet and muzzle, with requiring trimming for a rounded appearance. Easy to train and used as watchdogs, performing tricks, extremely sociable with everyone and everything-this competitive and obedient breed is a joy to have around. The only thing that may provide difficulty is its housebreaking, which has been known to occur with most smaller breeds as they need to toilet more often and are harder to watch in the home. And as usual, this has a lot to do with the trainer or owner and how they train. Absolutely all dogs and puppies can be trained, but not all trainers and owners can train properly.
The major concern for the Bichon Frise is the patellar luxation, or when the kneecap is out of place. This will cause the dog to cause lameness, refuse to bear weight, or the knee may become locked. It can be seen when the dog is around six months of age, or when older if the condition is mild. As a result of the patellar luxation, other degenerative joint changes will occur, such as osteoarthritis.
The way to find out if a dog has this disease is to have the dog physical examined by a veterinarian, along with having a palpation done. Radiographs can be done to see if any further degenerative joint changes are going on. Treatments vary on the severity of the disease. Minor diseases for the Bichon are tooth loss and Cataracts, with suggested tests for knees and eyes. Allergies, eye conditions, and Ear infections are also prone to the Bichon, with a needed focus on dental care.
A good rule of thumb is that the little white coat of the Bichon Frise needs routine brushing and combing every other day, along with scissoring and trimming once every other day. The Bichon does not shed, but the loose hairs have a tendency to become entangled in the coat, which become matted. This is a very big reason this breed should not be an outdoor dog.
Grooming requirements are based on coat type and the size of the dog. This refers to the fact a small or tiny dog with a lot of hair, such as a long-haired Chihuahua, would rank lower than a large dog with a lot of hair. Dogs that are shown in the rank will require much more care and grooming than what is generally suggested. Either way, the care of the coat is an important consideration before purchasing a dog of any breed. If daily or weekly brushing is not a favorite past-time, then getting a long-haired dog that sheds is not a smart thing to do.
Bathing should be done on all breeds, and breeds with long hair need more attention than breeds with short hair along with frequent brushings. The Bishon would need more frequent bathing as compared to a shorthaired dog, such as once a week or once a month-depending on the lifestyle of the Bichon. If the dog leads a sedimentary life and doesn't get out much, then it probably will not get too dirty. Bathing will remove oil and debris from the coat of the dog, which will cause matting. Ear cleaning and nail clippings should be done during this time as many small or toy breeds suffer from tooth loss or nail issues.
Exercising a dog is the single most important thing in their dog, other than feeding/watering them. There is no dog that will not require some form of exercise, whether it is small, large, or huge breed. Also, each breed will require a different level of exercise than another breed. Also, age has a lot to do with it, as puppies should only be exercised until they become tired, and older dogs simply require less exercise. The problem is that all dogs require more exercise than what their owners are willing to offer them. A dog that requires average exercise could do with more, but usually have to do with less-simply because of an owner not willing to spend the time.
A low exercise level is recommended for the Bichon, because they exercise themselves throughout the day with their bouncy personality and high energy level anyway. Because the breed is small, and not much space is required, walks taken outdoors, family play in the yard are high priorities, or even playing at the park will suffice. This is not the breed to take out hunting all day, or hiking in the mountains.
The Bichon Frise is an easy dog to train, as it is quick and intelligent. A naturally obedient breed, they have a history of being easily trained as a star performer, doing tricks, therapy work, and agility shows. This breed requires gentle and firm training, as they are so gentle and sensitive that any harsh training or negative corrections will have an opposite effect on the puppy or adult dog. But all trainers/owners will eventually need a collar and leash to begin the training-the many types available will depend on the person doing the training, as each one is a matter of personal preference and what the dog needs.
Some of the training collar tools that are acceptable for the Bichon training, as chain or nylon chokers will matt and tangle in their hair, are the buckle collars, leather-training collars, or even the reversed pinch collars. Each one will do well for training a Bichon Frise. The head collar is becoming very popular as a training tool for most dogs in training classes. It looks like a horse halter, going around the dog's face with a leash attachment under the muzzle. At first, the dog will fight the halter type collar, but once it gets used it-those who have used it say it works wonders and they have more control over the dog.
Training the Bichon works well with food treats along with the leash and collar. As each dog is different, the most important thing is that a well-trained dog will become a better companion along with way. Positive reinforcement and gentle training are the choice training of the day, with kindness, persistence, and patience. Oh yes, and lots of love.